How to prepare for an interview - Practical advice
There are 3 steps:
- Before the interview
- On the day of the interview
- The interview itself
Before the interview
- Role research
You can easily find out more about the role by searching for similar roles online, particularly through linked in and Xing. Do not be afraid to bring up queries/questions about the job description during the interview. This will demonstrate your interest in the role.
- Company research
Try to get as much information as possible about the company: its culture, production or services, trends, projects and financial condition. Use your social networks, the internet and the organisation’s website to find your information. Be clear about what you like about the company’s organisation and why you’d like to work for them as this may come up in the interview. Your interest will be noticed and appreciated.
- Find out about the interviewer
Where possible, try to find out who will be interviewing you (i.e. their name and position within the company). If you know who is interviewing, it will allow you to predict some of the interview questions and to ensure that you are as well prepared as possible before the interview.
- Think about the admission criteria
During the interview, company representatives are mainly interested in 3 things: your personality, your motivation and your ability to do the job. They also try to find out whether you will suit the organisation’s culture and whether you will fit well into the team. You can be most prepared for this by reviewing the job description and researching the company’s culture.
- Job description
Before your interview, review the job description and criteria for the selection - the interviewers will most likely want you to demonstrate how you fulfil these criteria. Look at the duties and responsibilities in the role and think of examples of how you have carried out these duties/ fulfilled these responsibilities in the past.
Interviewers may look to you to demonstrate core competencies, years of experience and key personality traits. This will likely be obvious in the job description.
For more information on specific types of interview and the likely format/ interview questions, view ourdifferent types of interview section.
- Company Culture
Check out the company website (particularly the Corporate Social Responsibility and Work for Us sections). This should give you some idea of the company culture. In addition, ask your friends and social networks if they know anyone who works in the organisation and sound them out on what it’s like to work there.
- What are your strengths and why do you want this job?
Sometimes it is difficult for people to promote themselves and their strengths. However, at an interview it is very important that you identify:
- Your key strengths
- Your key character attributes
- Your qualifications and experience
- Your key successes and how you have learned from your failures
- Why you would be the best choice for the particular role
- Why you would be the best choice for the organisation - i.e, what you can bring to the company (that they may not already have) and how you would fit into their organisational culture?
- Why you want this role
- Why you want to work for this particular organisation
- Why should the company want you
After all, if you don’t know your own strengths, how do you expect a potential employer to identify them?
If you find it difficult to identify your positives, why not ask your friends and family - you will be pleasantly surprised by what they have to say about you!!
- Review all the information the night before the interview
Get all the necessary documents together for the interview. Read through all the documents you have sent to the company so you will be consistent during your interview. Get an early night to ensure that you give yourself plenty of time the next morning so that you can arrive at your interview in a calm and collected manner.
Do not be frustrated by a possible failure. Every interview that you do improves your interview skills and makes you better for your next interview; always try to learn from your mistakes. To find out more about interviews, view our advice on different types of interviews and types and frequently asked interview questions.